Article

Man's Search for Meaning: The Case of Legos

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Abstract

We investigate how perceived meaning influences labor supply. In a laboratory setting, we manipulate the perceived meaning of simple, repetitive tasks and find a strong influence on subjects’ labor supply. Despite the fact that the wage and the task are identical across the conditions in each experiment, subjects in the less meaningful conditions exhibit reservation wages that are consistently much higher than the subjects in the more meaningful conditions. The result replicates across different types of tasks. Moreover, in the more meaningful conditions, subjects’ productivity influences labor supply more strongly.

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... Anecdotal evidence from press reports suggests that Sisyphean efforts may result in a decrease in intrinsic motivation. To date, research has shown that the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of a task affects the quality and quantity of a person's performance (e.g., [4,5]). It is also known that extreme situations in which recurrent efforts do not lead to any expected outcomes may result in learned helplessness, characterized by decreased motivation to act (e.g., [6]). ...
... Perceived meaninglessness affects motivation to engage in behaviors (e.g., [12,13]). Ariely et al. [4] showed that, when a task is meaningless, individuals are less prone to perform it. In one study, participants were asked to mark the letters "SS" on sheets with strings of letters. ...
... In the meaningless condition, the robots were deconstructed in front of the participants. Ariely et al. [4] found that people constructed fewer robots in the meaningless condition. ...
... Workplace wellbeing has many dimensions and determinants, and in this paper, we focus on "meaningful work" (MW) (Haybron, 2016). MW has both intrinsic and instrumental value, as it is associated with outcomes such as turnover intention (Arnoux-Nicolas et al., 2016), physical health , and productivity (Ariely et al., 2008). ...
... 1 The authors of this survey distinguished between affective reactions to work, such as feelings of meaningfulness, and job attributes, such as the significance or variety of tasks. Despite the clear distinction between affective experiences and task attributes in the Hackman research, perceived meaningfulness is assessed by considering attributes alone rather than affective meaning, too (Ariely et al., 2008;Chadi et al., 2016;Frieder et al., 2018;Bailey et al., 2019a). ...
... Although some approaches consider affect and eudaimonia to be separate, there is also recognition that there is conceptual overlap (Kashdan et al., 2008), and the distinction between "experienced eudaemonia" and "evaluated eudaemonia" is not new (Kahneman & Riis, 2005, p. 301). We are separate from three related literatures: traditional affective approaches aligned with hedonic rather than eudaimonic wellbeing, such as those that ask about happy feelings (Angner, 2010); eudaimonic approaches to meaningful work that emphasize global, cognitive, and/or evaluative states, such as those inquiring about a meaningful life ; and some applications of the task attribute approach to meaningful work that do not always consider affect or emotion, as discussed above (Ariely et al., 2008;Chadi et al., 2016;Frieder et al., 2018;Bailey et al., 2019a). ...
Article
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Meaningful work (MW) is an important topic in psychological and organizational research with theoretical and practical implications. Many prior studies have focused on operationalizing MW and distinguish between the attributes of a job that make it meaningful, such as task variety or significance, and the affective experience of meaning during work, such as the feeling that what one does at work is meaningful. However, most empirical research focuses on the former definition and utilizes quantitative scales with deductive questions that omit what people find important in their experiences. To address this, we conduct a qualitative investigation of psychological narratives focusing in-depth on the quality and content of feelings of meaningfulness and meaninglessness during experiences at work—crucially, without any framing around task attributes. We introduce the term affective eudaimonia to describe these experiences. Overall, our results corroborate many existing thematic findings in the MW literature, such as the importance of connecting and contributing to others and avoiding confinement. We also offer new findings: Although the way that people give language to meaningless narratives is more descriptive, vivid, and experiential in tone than meaningful narratives, meaningless narratives are also more structurally static and constrained. We use these results to inform practical suggestions to promote day-to-day experiences of meaning at work and provide a basis for further academic discussion.
... Anecdotal evidence from press reports suggests that Sisyphean efforts may result in a decrease in intrinsic motivation. To date, research has shown that the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of a task affects the quality and quantity of a person's performance (e.g., [4,5]). It is also known that extreme situations in which recurrent efforts do not lead to any expected outcomes may result in learned helplessness, characterized by decreased motivation to act (e.g., [6]). ...
... Perceived meaninglessness affects motivation to engage in behaviors (e.g., [12,13]). Ariely et al. [4] showed that, when a task is meaningless, individuals are less prone to perform it. In one study, participants were asked to mark the letters "SS" on sheets with strings of letters. ...
... In the meaningless condition, the robots were deconstructed in front of the participants. Ariely et al. [4] found that people constructed fewer robots in the meaningless condition. ...
Article
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This paper explores the consequences of engaging in conservation efforts that later appear purposeless. Specifically, we tested the model in which disappointment lays at the root of decreased motivation in such situations. In Studies 1 and 2, participants (n = 239 and n = 283) imagined that they had recycled plastic bottles for a week and that an assistant had collected their garbage in either separate bags (meaningful condition) or only one bag (meaningless condition). Half of participants imagined that they had put plastic bags and screw caps into separate containers (low-effort condition), the other half imagined that they had torn off the label bands (high-effort condition). In Study 3, a longitudinal field experiment, participants (n = 286) took part in a real situation that followed the procedure from Studies 1 and 2. Altogether, we confirmed the moderating effect of effort on relationship between meaninglessness and motivation through experienced disappointment. We discuss consequences of efforts wasted for beliefs, intentions and behaviors affording sustainable solutions.
... In recent years, more and more researchers have begun to examine the causal relationship between work meaningfulness and work-related persistent behaviors using experimental methods (Ariely et al., 2008;Chandler & Kapelner, 2013;Grant, 2008;Hu & Hirsh, 2017;Kosfeld et al., 2017;Meng & Ouyang, 2020). For example, in a pioneering study, Ariely et al. (2008) designed two experiments to verify the effect of meaningfulness on the participants' labor supply. ...
... In recent years, more and more researchers have begun to examine the causal relationship between work meaningfulness and work-related persistent behaviors using experimental methods (Ariely et al., 2008;Chandler & Kapelner, 2013;Grant, 2008;Hu & Hirsh, 2017;Kosfeld et al., 2017;Meng & Ouyang, 2020). For example, in a pioneering study, Ariely et al. (2008) designed two experiments to verify the effect of meaningfulness on the participants' labor supply. In one of their experiments, the participants were asked to complete Bionicle Lego models in either the "meaningful" condition or "Sisyphus" condition. ...
... Once participants completed one set and began to assemble the next set, the just-completed set would be disassembled under their nose by the experimenter. It was found that participants in the "meaningful" condition assembled 47.2% more Legos than their counterparts in the "Sisyphus" condition (Ariely et al., 2008). Several follow-up studies confirmed the pioneering findings of Ariely et al. (2008) in field settings (Chandler & Kapelner, 2013;Kosfeld et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Previous studies have consistently confirmed the positive relationship between work meaningfulness and one's persistent behavior in the workplace. However, most existing studies have focused on examining the direct effect of work meaningfulness, paid less attention to the condition under which it works well. In this study, we adopted a 2 (work meaningfulness: disclosure vs. non-disclosure) Â 2 (level of action identification: high vs. low) between-subject experimental design and investigated the moderating role of action identification level in the relationship between work meaningfulness disclosure and one's persistent behavior. The result indicated that both work characteristics (i.e., work meaningfulness) and personal factors influence work behaviors, since participants who identified their work behaviors at a lower/concrete level benefited more from work mean-ingfulness disclosure. Given that personal factors have long been neglected in previous work meaningfulness literature, our findings could help advance existing research on work meaningfulness.
... ''Meaning is cheap [...], but ignoring the dimension of meaning may be quite expensive, for employers and for society.' ' -Ariely et al. (2008) Long-term unemployment imposes large costs on both individuals and society. At the individual level, it reduces physical and mental well-being as well as opportunities on the labor market (e.g., Machin and Manning, 1999;Sullivan and von Wachter, 2009;Kroft et al., 2013). ...
... The evidence on this is mixed and depends on the sample analyzed. Experimental studies such as Ariely et al. (2008) often find strong positive effects of work meaning on labor supply, but typically rely on selected samples most often consisting of students. Maestas et al. (2018) analyze the willingness to pay (WTP) for nonwage attributes based on a representative sample of the US population. ...
... Using a sample of online workers on mTurk, Chandler and Kapelner (2013) also examine reservation wages, but they do not find a significant effect of work meaning on reservation wages. Ariely et al. (2008) vary work meaning by destroying output immediately in one treatment while keeping it intact in another treatment. They derive a ''quasi-reservation wage'' from a subject's output by lowering the piece rate at each produced unit. ...
Article
We analyze to what extent work meaning – the significance of a job for others or for society – increases the willingness of employed and unemployed individuals to accept a job. To this end, we elicit reservation wages for a one-hour job and randomly vary its description as having either ”high” or ”low” meaning. Our subjects participate in the ”Panel Study of Labour Market and Social Security” (PASS), which comprises a random draw from the German population and a random draw of unemployed individuals from the unemployment register. We can thus link subjects’ experimental behavior to rich survey data and control for selection into the experiment. For subjects who consider work meaning as very important (around one third of PASS respondents), high-meaning reduces the reservation wage by around 18 percent. By contrast, among unemployed individuals, work meaning increases the reservation wage by around 14 percent. We discuss how work meaning can have both positive and negative effects on labor supply when it interacts with fairness concerns or work norms.
... Participants of Study 2 were instructed to learn English words during the second stage of the experiment. Given that intrinsic motivation is implicit in nature and is difficult to be measured through self-report (Meng et al., 2021;Meng & Ma, 2015), in Study 2 we resorted to a more explicit and reliable behavioral measure of intrinsic motivation and closely observed and measured one's persistent learning behavior (Ariely et al., 2008;Wang et al., 2022). ...
... Specifically, the participants were instructed to learn College English Test-6 (CET-6) vocabularies using a mobile application Aurora Word (see Fig. 3) in which the participants can autonomously choose the way they like to learn words, such as clicking on "pronunciation", "more examples", "common phrases", etc. To measure the participants' intrinsic motivation in learning English words, we adopted the effort-provision paradigm designed and adopted by other researchers (Ariely et al., 2008;Meng & Ouyang, 2020;Wang et al., 2022). We informed the participants that they are free to stop whenever they like. ...
... If a participant is not interested in learning words and only cares about payment, he/she should stop learning at an early stage, as the reward for learning at a late stage is not cost-efficient in the economic sense. Thus, this paradigm allows researchers to measure one's intrinsic motivation through observing and measuring the effort one freely chooses to spend on a target activity (Ariely et al., 2008;Meng & Ouyang, 2020). ...
Article
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Satisfaction of the basic psychological need of autonomy is essential for one’s optimal functioning and well-being. Recent studies consistently demonstrated that autonomy-deprived individuals would attempt to regain the sense of autonomy in the following autonomy-supportive activity. However, few studies explored individual differences during this process. In this study conducted in the learning context, we examined the moderating role of autonomy orientation in autonomy restoration. Both scales and the effort-provision paradigm were adopted so as to objectively measure one’s intrinsic motivation. Through two experiments with between-group designs, our results showed that, there existed a restoration process in which autonomy frustrated individuals invested greater intrinsic motivation to regain autonomy afterwards, an effect only observed among individuals with high autonomy orientation. These findings extend existing literatures within the self-determination theory framework by showing that one’s autonomy orientation would facilitate autonomy restoration.
... A crucial factor that explains the variability in intrinsic motivation is the perceived meaningfulness of a task. Experimental evidence from the lab (Ariely et al. 2008) and the field (Chandler and Kapelner 2013;Chadi et al. 2017;Bäker and Mechtel 2018) suggests that people perform better when they feel that what they do is meaningful. Since typical voluntary tasks-such as stuffing letters, sorting donated clothes, or preparing standardized food packagesare often simple and repetitive (Smith et al. 2010), easy to understand by mostly inexperienced volunteers (Hyde et al. 2014), and independent of volunteers' cognitive or crafting skills (Hustinx et al. 2008), the task itself usually provides no source of meaningfulness. ...
Article
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Although volunteers are a critical resource for non-profit organizations, little is known about how best to motivate them to work. A non-profit organization asked episodic volunteers to produce handmade greeting cards to sell at a fundraising event. By running a natural field experiment, we study the effect of motivating these volunteers through (a) the opportunity to vote on how the money that was raised would be spent and (b) the prospect of individual performance feedback. We find an economically and statistically significant positive effect of both tools on the quantity of work done, while the quality is mostly unaffected. Moreover, we observe significant gender differences in responsiveness to the treatments. While the prospect for feedback is more motivating to men, women respond more strongly to the opportunity to decide how the money would be spent. Empowerment seems to be a simple way to increase engagement for people with low enjoyment.
... Whereas the concept of meaningfulness refers to the degree of significance an individual generally assigns to information, meaningfulness is still rooted in culture and in the values and attitudes it conveys. Then, the concept of meaningfulness has two components, the subjective goals and recognition (Ariely et al., 2008). The subjective goal refers to mental representations of potential future situations. ...
Article
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Consumers can have difficulty expressing their buying intentions on an explicit level. The most common explanation for this intention-action gap is that consumers have many cognitive biases that interfere with rational decision-making. The current resource-rational approach to understanding human cognition, however, suggests that brain environment interactions lead consumers to minimize the expenditure of cognitive energy according to the principle of Occam's Razor. This means that the consumer seeks as simple of a solution as possible for a problem requiring decision-making. In addition, this resource-rational approach to decision-making emphasizes the role of inductive inference and Bayesian reasoning. Together, the principle of Occam's Razor, inductive inference, and Bayesian reasoning illuminate the dynamic human-environment relationship. This paper analyzes these concepts from a contextual perspective and introduces the Consumer Contextual Decision-Making Model (CCDMM). Based on the CCDMM, two hypothetical strategies of consumer decision-making will be presented. First, the SIMilarity-Strategy (SIMS) is one in which most of a consumer's decisions in a real-life context are based on prior beliefs about the role of a commodities specific to real-life situation being encountered. Because beliefs are based on previous experiences, consumers are already aware of the most likely consequences of their actions. At the same time, they do not waste time on developing contingencies for what, based on previous experience, is unlikely to happen. Second, the What-is-Out-there-in-the-World-Strategy (WOWS) is one in which prior beliefs do not work in a real-life situation, requiring consumers to update their beliefs. The principle argument being made is that most experimental consumer research describes decision-making based on the WOWS, when participants cannot apply their previous knowledge and situation-based strategy to problems. The article analyzes sensory and cognitive biases described by behavioral economists from a CCDMM perspective, followed by a description and explanation of the typical intention-action gap based on the model. Prior to a section dedicated to discussion, the neuroeconomic approach will be described along with the valuation network of the brain, which has evolved to solve problems that the human has previously encountered in an information-rich environment. The principles of brain function will also be compared to CCDMM. Finally, different approaches and the future direction of consumer research from a contextual point of view will be presented.
... As this arrangement of contingencies produces a tendency to weaken behavior, because even what one wants to do loses its intrinsic reinforcing value when exposed to repetition (e.g., Ariely et al. 2008), aversive contingencies are released by the employers to maintain the strength of the employees' behavior. As the immediate and intrinsic consequences of working are no longer reinforcing, the arbitrary consequence-money-is released to strengthen such behavior. ...
Chapter
The chapter presents a brief characterization of premodern societies in order to highlight the way in which modern societies established a new arrangement of social contingencies and a new notion of the individual. The factors related to the production of depression as a cultural phenomenon are highlighted. Thus, the defining characteristics of postmodernity are presented to provide elements that help to think about the possible ways in which new social arrangements can contribute to the promotion of depression in the lives of individuals. To this end, analyses provided by philosophers, social scientists, psychiatrists, and psychologists on the main changes that constitute postmodernity were explored. The interpretive and experimental models of depression in the Behavior Analysis are used as an analytical tool for the cultural determinants of depression in today’s society.
... As this arrangement of contingencies produces a tendency to weaken behavior, because even what one wants to do loses its intrinsic reinforcing value when exposed to repetition (e.g., Ariely et al. 2008), aversive contingencies are released by the employers to maintain the strength of the employees' behavior. As the immediate and intrinsic consequences of working are no longer reinforcing, the arbitrary consequence-money-is released to strengthen such behavior. ...
Book
This book presents an analysis of contemporary society based on the experimental and interpretative models produced by the experimental analysis of behavior, in order to think about the ways in which current social contingencies can affect the life of individuals making them more depressive. It addresses the phenomenon of depression in a broad way. From its conception as a scientific concept to sociological explanations to explain its emergence, the book presents in a very well founded way the necessary knowledge to clarify, understand, and seek treatment and prevention for this major social evil. The authors begin with a description of the current diagnostic parameters of major depressive disorder followed by alarming global epidemiological data showing that depression has affected all races, social classes, genders and creeds. They then address the topic departing from an approach based on the experimental analysis of behavior, but also in dialogue with other philosophical and conceptual traditions, to show how current social relationships contribute to the development of major depressive disorder. Depression as a Cultural Phenomenon in Postmodern Society will be a valuable tool for health professionals looking for a wider approach to depression prevention and treatment. An approach that looks not only to the isolated individual, but takes into account the whole social context that contributes to cause or to prevent major depressive disorder.
... While social and cognitive psychology often investigates belief-forming processes and the ability to infer others' mental states on its own right, mainstream economists have long considered beliefs to be secondary: intermediate constructs, or, decision aids, that allow individuals to make better decisions. However, this reductionist approach has never been universally accepted among economists, and an alternative paradigm-that it is essential to understand how people form beliefs and what preferences they have over beliefs-is gaining foothold even in traditional fields of economics, such as finance (Sicherman, Loewenstein, Seppi, & Utkus, 2016), labor economics (Ariely, Kamenica, & Prelec, 2008), health economics (Oster, Shoulson, & Dorsey, 2013), and public policy (Hauser, Gino, & Norton, 2018). Nevertheless, since economics relies on a narrower and more parsimonious definition of what beliefs are-and what beliefs are not-than other disciplines, in which the delineation between beliefs and non-beliefs is less clear, in my work I focus on beliefs as defined in economics: ...
Preprint
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Why do we care about what others think and believe? How does what happens in other people’s minds affect our well-being? When are we motivated to take actions, such as attempts to change another’s mind, or to reveal harmful information to others, just to make sure that others believe what we want them to believe? How can these insights about people’s preference for what others believe inform theories of decision-making and policy? These are the main research questions that I focus on in my dissertation. The overarching theme of the present work is the idea that we inherently monitor and care about what goes on in other people’s minds—and not necessarily because doing so benefits us in any way. As I highlight in Chapter I, most previous work has hypothesized that such preferences over others’ mental states serve as intermediate steps towards an ultimate goal (e.g., to outwit an opponent or to foster social relations). By contrast, my work demonstrates that individuals’ well-being and choices can be directly affected by consideration for others’ beliefs. My work also expands our understanding of belief-based preferences to include preferences over second-order beliefs, i.e., the beliefs of others. While previous theories of belief-based motives have examined individuals’ preferences over their own non-instrumental cognitive states, my dissertation demonstrates that such belief-based motives can be extended beyond the individual. That is, people have an intrinsic preference for what others (should) believe, and this desire has important implications to their well-being and behavior in a multitude of domains. In Chapter II, I demonstrate that people inherently dislike when they think that others hold incorrect beliefs—as opposed to different beliefs per se—and argue that this finding puts prior literature on belief-homophily in a new light. In the subsequent chapters I investigate behavior in two domains, in which people take costly actions to correct others’ misunderstandings: resource allocation (Chapter III) and moral punishment (Chapter IV). I conclude by discussing the limitations of the present work in Chapter V. In addition, I provide an outline for future research and discuss possible applications of belief-based motives in various domains. Taking into account an intrinsic preference over others’ mental states can help us to better understand a plethora of contemporary societal issues: the polarization of political beliefs and belief-based geographic sorting; the dramatic deterioration of public trust in democratic institutions and the media (and the emergence of “fake news”); the psychological effects of the rapid acceleration of automatization and the increasing prevalence of human-computer interactions; and the worsening mental health conditions due to people feeling misunderstood, isolated, and “left behind” by society, which might also contribute to the recent surge in anti-establishment and extremist sentiments across the globe.
... In Study 1, 181 participants were told they would have an opportunity earn money for themselves and for a 182 charity of their choice. To ensure the cause was personally meaningful (Ariely et al., 2008), 183 participants were given a choice of 5 charities, and the option to provide an alternative charity if 184 they preferred. Participants were informed that they had to maintain an accuracy level above 185 90% on the task to receive the financial compensation for themselves and their selected charity. ...
Preprint
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Effort is aversive and often avoided, even when earning benefits for oneself. Yet, people sometimes work hard for others. How do people decide who is worth their effort? Prior work has found that people avoid physical effort for strangers, but willingly exert physical effort for charity. Here, we find that people avoid cognitive effort for others relative to themselves, even when the cause is a personally meaningful charity. We suggest that perceived overlap between self and other may underlie prosocial decisions involving effort. In two studies, participants repeatedly decided whether to invest cognitive effort to gain financial rewards for themselves and others. In Study 1, participants (N = 51; 150 choices) were less willing to invest cognitive effort for a charity than themselves. In Study 2, participants (N = 47; 225 choices) were more willing to work cognitively for a charity than an intragroup stranger, but again preferred cognitive exertion that benefited themselves. Computational modeling suggests that, unlike physical effort, in our paradigm cognitive effort discounted the subjective value of rewards linearly. Follow-up machine learning analyses indicate that people who represented others more similarly to themselves were more willing to invest effort on their behalf. Our results suggest that people are less willing to exert mental effort that benefits others (including charities) than themselves, but that when they observe others as similar to them, they are no longer socially apathetic.
... While a subset of past products have had a service focus, fully integrating service learning in the fall 2004 semester resulted in a majority of teams creating products that can have clear societal benefit. The likelihood of students following through entrepreneurially with their product idea increases when the meaningfulness and use of the product need is made explicit 9 . Service learning project ideas are generally inherently connected to strong client ties and explicit social meaning and use, and are thus one way to continue providing students after graduation with the client link, support, and motivation to keep developing their work. ...
... The IKEA treatment was inspired by Ariely et al. (2008) and Norton et al. (2012). In our experimental design, the IKEA treatment can be interpreted as a baseline treatment. ...
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IKEA Effect vs. Trophy Effect-An Experimental Comparison This paper can be downloaded from http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/makro/forschung/magkspapers Coordination: Bernd Hayo • Philipps-University Marburg ABSTRACT Successful work-either invested to create or to obtain a product-increases the customer's valuation of the product. These phenomena are called the IKEA and the trophy effect. We test both of them separately as well as combined and find that the trophy winner effect looms larger than the IKEA effect for inexpensive items, in our case paper planes. For more expensive products, in our case 3-D-puzzles, we find a trophy loser effect. Positive emotions of trophy winners drive our result for inexpensive products, whereas negative emotions of trophy losers drive our result for more expensive products. We discuss the implications of our findings.
... Behavioral economists have also considered the implications of meaning. Several papers (Heyman and Ariely, 2004;Ariely et al., 2008;Ariely et al., 2009) The four main aspects of meaning examined in this study are gifts, recognition, participation, and influence. Mauss (1925) was one of the pioneers who investigated the concept of gifts. ...
... In the study titled, 'Man's Search for Meaning: The Case of Legos', by Ariely, D., Kamenica, E. & Prelec, E. (2008), participants were given a paper filled with random letters and asked to find pairs of identical letters. In each round the participant was given less money than the previous round. ...
Thesis
Special education is becoming an increasingly demanding profession. The present study tried to identify the factors that motivate special education teachers to choose this profession and persist in it despite the challenges they face. The study had a qualitative research design and used the semi-structured interview method for data collection. A sample of seven female special education teachers was obtained through purposive sampling. The interviews conducted with each of them were analyzed using deductive Thematic Analysis (TA). The results of the study showed that intrinsic and altruistic factors motivated special education teachers to choose the profession and persist in it, while extrinsic factors only played a role in motivating them to stay in the profession. The prominent intrinsic factors that motivated special education teachers to choose the profession were interest in the subject of special education or psychology and interest in special children. The altruistic factor that motivated them for the same was the need to create awareness about special children. Extrinsic factors did not motivate them to choose the profession. Passion for teaching came out to be the most important intrinsic factor that motivated them to stay in the profession, while the need to create awareness and the need to serve society were the observed altruistic factors that motivated them for the same. Having a supportive head at the institution and seeing improvements in the children were the most prominent extrinsic factors that motivated them to stay in the profession.
... Digging a little deeper into the interplay between supportive supervision, mastery, autonomy, and sustained motivation, behavioral economist Dan Ariely identifies the search for meaning in one's work. 92 This leads to sustained engagement, as a combination of both recognition and purpose. 93 For Ariely, recognition "means that some other person acknowledges the completion of the work," and purpose "means that the employees understand how their work might be linked, even tangentially, to some objectives." ...
Article
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The litigation surrounding the maintenance of a refugee camp for HIV Haitian refugees in the early 1990s has been written about as both triumph and defeat; it resulted in both dramatic legal victories as well as some significant setbacks. To date, the scholarship and commentary about the effort has focused mostly on the outcomes of the litigation and some debate has arisen over whether the case established precedent that supported human rights norms or undermined them. What has received some attention in the focus on the case is the extent to which it was litigated by faculty in a law school, with the unbridled engagement of a large team of law students. By all accounts, regardless of one’s position on the doctrinal legacy of the litigation, most will agree that the manner in which the high impact, high profile case was litigated — by law students under the supervision of law faculty and practitioners — was both extraordinary and exemplary, representing a triumph of both collective and individual will as well as organizational wizardry. Yet little has been written about how such an amorphous network that saw the matter through to completion actually functioned on the ground and why it was so successful as a campaign. In hindsight, and informed by my own experience working on the case as well as nearly twenty-five years of institution building and project management, I attempt to diagnose the success beyond the doctrine: as a project that developed critical skills essential to attorneys and advocates; nurtured creativity; and tapped into intrinsic motivation.
... Those who strongly seek to make sense are presumably more willing to spend time and effort on this process (for example because they find meaningless situations more discomforting), while those low in need for sense-making may be less willing to do so (for example because they find meaningless situations not very discomforting). Research shows that people in general prefer to perform activities that are meaningful (e.g., Ariely et al., 2008;Chandler & Kapelner, 2013) and find boredom to be aversive (e.g., Van Tilburg & Igou, 2011). We argue that this is especially true for people with a high need for sense-making. ...
Article
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We consider need for sense-making a personal resource and propose that people differ in their levels of this need. We present results of five studies (N = 879) that tested Need for Sense-Making Scale (NSM). The scale is unidimensional, highly reliable, and has satisfactory construct and criterion validity. Need for sense-making was moderately positively related to extroversion, openness, conscientiousness, self-esteem, and sense of control, while negatively related to neuroticism. There was an inverted U-shaped relationship between the need for sense-making and well-being. When individuals were presented with a meaningful task, searching for and presence of meaning sequentially mediate the relationship between need for sense-making and task performance. Need for sense-making predicts work engagement through searching for and presence of meaningful work.
... Bradler et al. (2015) found that when group members realise that merit, rather than popularity, will affect their share of success, weaker performers became motivated. Ariely, Kamenica & Prelec (2008) found that motivation was increased in students whose work was acknowledged by an experimenter, but not when work was ignored or destroyed. Hence, leadership is critical for reducing the demotivating effects of low popularity. ...
Thesis
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As a thesis by publication, the candidate presents his published or submitted first-author research papers that develop a model to explain the innate capacity of humans to collaborate in egalitarian teams. Group dynamics are comprised of the minutiae of member perceptions and reactions that cohere a group. This research addresses the lack of a compelling (comprehensive, accurate and detailed) model of group dynamics. The word model describes a simplified representation of reality, that may encapsulate multiple theories. By contrast, theory is singular and suggests only partial representation of reality. A model may therefore offer a more complete representation and may achieve the consilience of numerous theories. This thesis formulates the PILAR model and evaluates each of its five Pillars (Prospects, Involved, Liked, Agency, Respect) and 20 interconnecting forces for their collective capacity to characterise a small group. Various empirical and conceptual evaluations allow the candidate to recommend PILAR as a consilience model that credibly integrates numerous theories while representing an extensive assortment of group dynamics. Chapter one Reviews current group dynamics literature; including concepts, models, perspectives, and methodologies. Reasons are proposed for why social and organisational psychology has (arguably) failed to converge upon a compelling baseline model that is consistent with anthropological hominin groups. To demonstrate a potential application of such a model, I examine a practitioner method of organisational devolution, Appreciative Inquiry (AI). The chapter then presents a novel, iterative, method for developing a baseline model of group dynamics that has been adopted by the candidate. Chapter two (published) Proposes PILAR as a baseline model of group dynamics encapsulating a significant proportion of social and group psychology (SGP) theory. PILAR postulates five ostensive constructs (Pillars) that each member is unconsciously influenced by, when moderating their level of effort, or engagement. These five Pillars then prompt various participant behaviours, including both visible actions such as expressing an opinion or aiding another member, and hidden actions such as thought processes, which may only be evident in body language (if at all). Chapters three, four and five (all published) These three chapters examine whether group members use the five Pillars to assess one another’s contribution to a team. A member observing a colleague’s low Pillars may deduce their poor engagement, while higher Pillars suggest significant effort. A member might also collectively evaluate colleagues’ Pillars to assess a group’s overall engagement, either to match this level, or strategically vary from it, for instance to demonstrate leadership (discussed further in §8.3.3). Chapter three considers whether peer assessment data is indicative of a student team’s collective engagement, and therefore team grade. However only a weak correlation between team grade and team engagement is found. Empirical investigation reveals that half of the respondents answered the survey insincerely, as demonstrated by a lack of variance between responses. Recommendations are made for an improved, and shorter, peer assessment instrument to encourage sincere responses. Using an Exploratory Factor Analysis, Chapter four tests whether respondents aligned their item responses in accordance with the five Pillars. Results were as hypothesised, which prompts the candidate to assess whether the five Pillars were present in a popular online peer assessment tool, the Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness (CATME). It is found that CATME’s originating methodology had excluded two Pillars from consideration. High inter-correlations between CATME’s dimensions may have been the result of redundancy as three Pillars were extended over five dimensions. Chapter five reports the design of a brief peer assessment instrument informed by the Pillars, called Pillar-PP, that assesses a respondent’s peer’s perceptions. The chapter concludes with a recommendation to validate Pillar-PP, while also attempting to identify inter-rater bias between respondents. Chapter six (published) To investigate the universality of PILAR, Chapter six attempts unification of two divergent literatures, one positivist and one constructivist. Regarding the positivist literature, it was postulated that should PILAR accurately represent the small group, its Pillars may be able to categorise industrial and organisational psychology (IOP) constructs, since organisations are constituted by (albeit, hierarchical) teams. Regarding the constructivist literature, AI is action research that facilitates the formation of egalitarian team to undertake ad hoc projects. Chapters seven (published) and eight (submitted) These two chapters develop an evolutionary story behind a postulated baseline model. Chapter seven contends that sub-group level selection (sGLS) selected for pre-verbal anthropological prosociality. Chapter eight extends sGLS by considering how hominins and modern humans moderate their engagement as hierarchy steepness varies. Chapter nine (submitted) Assesses to extent to which Pillars are represented within a systematically selected set of constructs used for group research. It is found that approximately 80% of constructs conceptually align with one Pillar, which suggests that PILAR constitutes a baseline model. Chapter ten (published) Applies PILAR to two growing societal problems, mental health and precarious employment. I develop a model that connects the five Pillars with wellbeing via constructs associated with positive psychology. Each Pillar is postulated as only being reliably achievable when a member possesses the respective dimension of psychological capital (PsyCap). Furthermore, that participation in the team delivers the member each of five basic psychological needs (BPN). When examined in the context of low-status, precarious, employment, a novel public policy for increasing population wellbeing is presented. Chapter eleven The conclusion summarises the sequence of postulates developed through the course of the thesis. Policy and theory implications were then explored, followed by chapter-specific limitations that are potentially significant in aggregation. The thesis ends with a contention that a unique methodology allows deeper insights than ordinarily possible in a dynamically complex problem space.
... Behavioral economists have also considered the implications of meaning. Several papers (Heyman and Ariely, 2004;Ariely et al., 2008;Ariely et al., 2009) The four main aspects of meaning examined in this study are gifts, recognition, participation, and influence. Mauss (1925) was one of the pioneers who investigated the concept of gifts. ...
... Students were informed that their feedback would be used to help improve teaching and to reward good lecturers. Meaning as an incentive has been found to lower reservation wage and increase labor supply in laboratory settings (Ariely et al. 2008), to improve job performance of charity fundraising callers (Grant 2008), and to increase job performance of students doing a data-entry job (Kosfeld et al. 2017). Research on student motivation for completing SETs suggests that the expectations that students have concerning the impact of their evaluations (or lack thereof) is important for their decisions to participate (Spencer and Schmelkin 2002;Chen and Hoshower 2003). ...
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... In the majority of cases, we are no longer in the business of converting deniers or 'sceptics' into 'believers' (McKeown and Hopkins 2010). Lecturing, examination, and traditional, rote t / 78 assignments can aid students' memorisation, but the topic of anthropogenic climate change requires a different level of immediate action and engagement -not simply because all life is in peril, but because emotionally and intellectually, students desire and respond to opportunities to take effective action in the name of mitigating climate change (Anderson 2013;Ariely et al. 2008;Chalofsky and Krishna 2009;Pink 2011;Seraphin et al. 2019). ...
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This article outlines pedagogical practices and methodologies for increasing student engagement in the classroom and in the broader community on the topic of climate change. The emphases are placed on (1) preliminary assessments of student understanding and emotional responses to the topic of climate change, (2) assignments that enable student groups to assess and increase campus-wide awareness of various aspects of climate change, and (3) public engagement and service-learning opportunities that allow students to expand their impact beyond the local campus and into their broader community. These practices have proven effective, for large format lecture courses as well as smaller seminar-style courses, in encouraging student participation, overcoming apathy and motivating student effort and action far beyond what can be stimulated by traditional classroom assignments and assessments.
... Whereas the concept of meaningfulness refers to the degree of significance an individual generally assigns to information, meaningfulness is still rooted in culture and in the values and attitudes it conveys. Then, the concept of meaningfulness has two components, the subjective goals and recognition (Ariely et al., 2008). The subjective goal refers to mental representations of potential future situations. ...
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Experimental setups that probe consumers’ underlying feelings, purchase intentions, and choices. The Topic Editors are honoured to present 14 multidisciplinary contributions that focus on successful implementations of physiological and neuroscientific measures in the field of cognitive psychology, marketing, design, and psychiatry. Keywords: preference formation, neuroscience, physiology, evaluative processing, consumer behavior
... In line with the relevance of meaning, work-effort experiments suggest that increasing the meaning of tasks increases the work effort for this task. This does not hold for all subjects as some persons do not care about meaningfulness at all (Ariely et al., 2008;Chandler & Kapelner, 2013;Kosfeld et al., 2017). Thus, we expect that pleasure at work is positively associated with meaning. ...
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This paper examines the experienced well-being of employed and unemployed workers. We use the survey-adapted Day Reconstruction Method of the Innovation Sample of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study to analyze the role of the employment status for well-being, incorporating time use. We use the novel P-index to summarize the average share of pleasurable minutes on a day and show that in contrast to evaluative life satisfaction the unemployed experiences more pleasurable minutes due to the absence of working episodes. Hence, we examine working episodes in depth. While working is among the activities with the highest propensities for an unpleasant experience, it is also among the most meaningful activities. We show that meaning is a central non-monetary determinant for pleasure at work and find that pleasure during work and job satisfaction have a comparable association with meaning.
... In an early study, Frank (1996) assembled experimental evidence showing, amongst others, that undergraduates take a 50 percent pay cut as ad copywriters for a cancer society compared to a cigarette company, and that public interest lawyers accept much lower wages than associates in private law firms. Later studies continue to confirm a causal connection between meaningful work and motivation, and the willingness to accept lower wages for the purpose of meaning (Ariely, Kamenica, and Prelec, 2008;Chandler and Kapelner, 2013;Kosfeld, Neckermann, and Yang, 2017). There is also evidence that firms that invest in corporate social responsibility are able to offer lower wages (Nyborg and Zhang, 2013). ...
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Moral preferences, very broadly speaking, permeate a growing variety of economic decision contexts. This paper develops a general theory of the utility maximizing agent who simultaneously assesses the moral and wealth outcomes of a given choice. The core of the preference criteria is a duality principle, which allows for an interaction of moral and wealth concerns in terms of substitutability, complementarity, or independence. The corresponding utility representation is bilinear, and a coefficient of the interaction term indicates how the agent views the relationship between morality and wealth. The theory is general enough to encapsulate the empirically observed heterogeneity in how agents weigh one against the other, and the representation results have important empirical implications, as they simplify utility assessment of moral wealth preferences.
... Firms can leverage individuals' taste for altruism in several ways. For example, they can connect a work task to a meaningful outcome (Ariely et al. 2008) or emphasize the impact of tasks (Grant 2008) through corporate giving. ...
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Corporations have recently started incorporating employees’ prosocial preferences into their incentive schemes, including charitable donations (corporate giving). These donations are mainly discussed in conjunction with the external effects of a firm’s CSR strategy. However, this experiment examines the effect of donations on internal firm operations. Specifically, we investigate whether the presence and structure of corporate giving influences employees’ excessive risk-taking. Such prosocial activities may remediate misaligned incentives often cited as drivers for employees to take excessive risks. Contrary to widespread practice, our experimental evidence suggests that firms could constrain employees' excessive risk-taking by linking existing contributions to project rather than corporate performance, thus providing boundaries around an employee’s involvement in CSR initiatives. We identify project-level giving as an unexplored CSR benefit and infer that personal responsibility effectively changes an employee’s incentive package. Our findings suggest an inverted U-shape curve of effectiveness.
... There is an opportunity for an integrated branding framework within NGOs, to keep identity-centered around brand-as-purpose. Purpose has been empirically shown to be crucial for individual work motivation (Ariely et al., 2008) and McKnight and Kashdan (2009) have argued that purpose can be the key to integrating health, wellbeing and self-concept on an individual level, defining it as: Purpose is a central, self-organizing life aim that organizes and stimulates goals, manages behaviors, and provides a sense of meaning. Purpose directs life goals Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. ...
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Brands are increasingly part of how international aid and development Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) operate, but there are challenges in aligning NGO brand value across diverse stakeholders. This research explores how key decision makers within one major NGO – Oxfam—construct the challenges of brand value alignment, using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology. Three master-themes emerge demonstrating key tensions around aligning NGOs brand value: the difficulty of balancing competing stakeholder needs, the internal cultural conflict around branding, and the existential dilemma underlying the societal effectiveness of NGOs. This paper proposes that NGOs can better navigate these intra—brand tensions using Brand-as-Purpose as an organizing principle; framing shared identity, creating a dynamic container for stakeholder interests and cultivating Moral Capital strongly anchored in increasing recipient wellbeing. This paper is one of the first pieces of research which explores how NGOs make sense of aligning brand value in the context of complex stakeholder cultures and recipient sovereignty. Brand-as Purpose is put forward as an organizing principle to help balance three key tensions around brand value alignment. This paper proposes that Moral Capital anchored in recipient wellbeing underpins NGO brand value and societal legitimacy and needs to be paramount in how NGO’s establish and legitimize their brands.
... Again, a possible reason might be that our data derives from participants imagining how other people might be feeling in challenging situations and not from real feelings in such situations. Some studies indicate that people underestimate the positivity evoked in the process of being immersed in overcoming a challenging task (e.g., [59]) and we speculate that an underestimation of eudaimonic feelings in challenge-like demand appraisals may account for the current result. ...
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The job characteristics literature has revealed that job demands can be differentiated into hindrance and challenge demands. However, there has been little consensus on this categorization. Additionally, studies have revealed that job demands can be perceived as hindering and challenging at the same time. The present study aims to bring nuance to this topic by investigating two job demands (i.e., time pressure and emotionally demanding situations) and to what degree they are appraised as challenging and hindering for two occupational groups (i.e., nurses and real estate agents). This study also investigates the impact of emotional dispositions on demand appraisals. A convenience sample (N = 851 Norwegian students) read vignettes and reported their appraisals for six different job situations. A factor analysis revealed that our measures of demand appraisals differed from those reported in previous studies. We therefore labeled the two kinds of appraisals as hindrance-like and challenge-like since they overlap without being identical to the previously reported labels of hindrance and challenge, respectively. Furthermore, we found that job demands were appraised as hindrance-like and challenge-like at the same time but to different degrees. Job demands for core tasks were typically appraised as more challenge-like than hindrance-like. Job demands for non-core tasks were typically appraised as more hindrance-like than challenge-like. Positive trait emotions predicted challenge-like appraisals. By documenting how imagined job demands appear as hindrances and challenges, our study supports previous studies showing that challenge-like demands may play a role in the motivational process in the job demands-resources model. Limitations to vignette studies are discussed.
... This narrative framing is intended to be more devoid of meaning than the No Reason condition. This condition is inspired by the Sisyphus condition from Ariely et al.'s [3] experiment, where a Lego model building task was made more meaningless by having the experimenter take apart the Lego models participants built after each model was built, while in their more meaningful condition the Lego models were not taken apart and were allowed to accumulate. ...
Conference Paper
The Positive Psychologists Peterson, Park, and Seligman identified three paths to human happiness, which they called orientations to happiness: pleasure, flow and meaning. Pleasure can be attained by making games beautiful and pleasurable to the five senses, and flow can be attained with dynamic difficulty adjustment to maintain an optimal level of challenge. However, to the best of our knowledge there has yet to be empirical research showing the impact of meaning on enjoyment in digital games. This study aims to fill that gap in the literature. An online controlled experiment with 440 total participants is proposed to test the impact of Task Significance on Task Engagement and Enjoyment. Participants will play one of 12 versions of a custom research game online (3 × 4 factorial experimental design), and then complete an online survey. Two different ways to facilitate Task Significance in games are proposed and tested: narrative framing and character upgrading mechanisms. This results of this experiment will advance the study of game enjoyment by testing how well these two ways of designing for meaning or Task Significance lead to enjoyment in digital games.
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We review the literature on people management and performance in organizations across a range of disciplines, identifying aspects of management where there is clear evidence about what works as well as aspects where the evidence is mixed or does not yet exist. We organize our discussion by four lenses, or levels of analysis, through which people management can be viewed: (i) individual extrinsic, intrinsic, and psychological factors; (ii) organizational people management, operational management, and culture; (iii) team mechanisms, composition and structural features; and (iv) relationships, including networks, leadership, and individuals’ relationships to their job and tasks. Each of these four lenses corresponds not only to a body of literature but also to a set of management tools and approaches to improving public employees’ performance; articulating the connections across these perspectives is an essential frontier for research. We find that existing people management evidence and practice have overemphasized formal management tools and financial motivations at the expense of understanding how to leverage a broader range of motivations, build organizational culture, and use informal and relational management practices. We suggest that foregrounding the role of relationships in linking people and performance—relational public management—may prove a fertile and interdisciplinary frontier for research and practices.
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This chapter by Greg Fetzer & Michael Pratt drills down into a recent addition to the componential model—in 2016—Pratt and Teresa wrote an article which infused the componential model with theory around meaningfulness. This chapter expands upon this insight to explore two new lines of inquiry: (1) uncovering conditions that motivate different orientations to be creative; and (2) understanding how creative persistence may unfold in the long term.
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Monetary bonus schemes are one of the most well-used forms of employee compensation in the modern business world. Yet, such schemes are primarily constructed as gains to incentivize an increase in work effort and performance. Using insights from behavioral economics, we construct a novel extrinsic compensation system modelled after Loss Aversion and the Yerkes-Dodson Law. We test this system using two experimental designs that measure performance based on cognitive- and mechanical efforts, respectively. In study 1 we find no difference in cognitive performance between 4 different bonus schemes. In a pre-registered study 2 we again find no difference in mechanical performance between 4 different conditions. Contrary to previous research, our findings suggest no significant effect of bonus schemes modelled after Loss Aversion and Yerkes-Dodson Law, whether administered alone or in combination. We discuss limitations and implications for compensation design and research.
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Calls are repeatedly made on corporations to respond to the challenges facing the planet from a sustainable development perspective and governments take solace in the idea that corporations' transparency on their corporate activity in relation to sustainability through voluntary reporting is adequately addressing the problem. In practice, however, reporting is failing to deliver truly sustainable results. The article considers the following questions: how does the varied reporting landscape in the field of non-financial reporting impede the objectives of fostering corporations' sustainable practices and which initiative, among the options available, may best meet the sustainability objectives after a decluttering of the landscape takes place? The article argues that the varied corporate reporting landscape constitutes a key obstacle to fostering sustainable corporate behaviour, insofar as the flexible and please all approach followed in the context of corporate sustainability reporting offers little to no real incentive to companies to behave more sustainably and ultimately pleases none in the long run. The case made is that “ less is more” in non-financial reporting initiatives and hence the article calls for a revision of key aspects of the European Non-Financial Reporting Directive, which, as is argued, is more likely to achieve the furtherance of sustainable corporate behaviour. Although the different reporting requirements offer the benefits of focussing on different corporate goals and activities, targeting different audiences and allowing for a level of flexibility that respects the individual risks to sustainability associated with each industry, the end result is a landscape that lacks overall consistency and comparability of measurements and accountabilities, making accountability more, rather than less, difficult to achieve. The article acknowledges the existence of several variances relating to the notion of sustainability per se , which continues to remain a contested concept and variances between companies and industries in relation to how each is operating sustainably or unsustainably respectively. Such variances have so far inhibited the legislator from easily outlining through tailored legislation the individual risks to global sustainability in an all-encompassing manner. The end product is a chaotic system of financial reporting, CSR reporting, non-financial reporting and integrated reporting and little progress to increase comparability and credibility in order for companies to be held accountable and to behave in ways that do not harm the planet. A “clean up” of the varied initiatives in the terrain of non-financial reporting is recommended.
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Survey measures of the reservation wage may reflect both the consumption-leisure trade-off and job market prospects (the arrival rate of job offers and the wage distribution). We examine what a survey measure of the reservation wage reveals about an individual’s willingness to trade leisure for consumption. To this end, we combine the reservation wage measure from a large labor market survey with the reservation wage for a one-hour job that we elicit in an online experiment. The two measures show a strong positive association. For unemployed individuals, the experimental reservation wage increases on average by around one Euro for every Euro increase in the survey measure. For employed individuals, the association between the two measures is weaker and depends on their occupation-specific risk of unemployment. We show that these results are robust to selection into the experiment, and that demographic variables have a similar influence on both reservation wage measures.
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Purpose This research aims to analyzes how megaproject top managers engaged in stewardship behaviors. Studying megaprojects from the micro-foundations rooted in individual action and interaction, this research examines the gaps between literature and top managers' positive behavior to challenge the current theoretical underpinnings of megaproject governance research and practice. Design/methodology/approach An extensive literature review was performed in the initial phase. Then, a case study of South-to-North Water Diversion project was conducted based on following this project and on access to its top executives. Data was collected from multiple sources and analyzed by Nvivo (version 12). Further analysis was then carried out in two stages to identify megaproject stewardship behavior and related governance patterns. Findings Results show that stewardship behavior is prevalently existing and is possibly to be identified through psychological, situational, relational dimensions. Also, 16 factors have been found to describe the precise nature of megaproject stewardship behavior. Further explorative findings were discussed from three perspectives: possible theoretical development, self-actualization motivation and temporalities of megaprojects. Originality/value Building upon the ideas on how to extend steward theory towards project field, this research conducts a first exploration of stewardship behavior in megaprojects. This study contributes to complement the research into top-level organizational behavior in megaprojects, and it provides helpful implications for how to govern top managers in the following megaprojects with the cooperative spirit that can be valued by megaproject stakeholders.
Thesis
Eine gute User Experience gilt in der Produkt- und Systementwicklung als ein entscheiden-der Erfolgsfaktor. User Experience kann dabei definiert werden als die „Wahrnehmungen und Reaktionen einer Person, die aus der tatsächlichen und/oder der erwarteten Benut-zung eines Produkts, eines Systems oder einer Dienstleistung resultieren“ (DIN EN ISO 9241-210, 2010, S. 7). Obwohl die Einführung technikgestützten Lernens und insbesondere das Lernen mit Computern an Schulen und Hochschulen bisher nur sehr zögerlich und weniger durchgreifend verlief als erhofft, wird dem Konstrukt in der bildungstechnologi-schen Forschung und Praxis bisher kaum Beachtung geschenkt. In der vorliegenden Arbeit werden Zusammenhänge zwischen User Experience, Motivation, kognitiver Belastung, Technikakzeptanz und Lernleistung beim technikgestützten Lernen zunächst aus theoreti-scher Perspektive herausgearbeitet und anschließend in zwei Studien empirisch überprüft. Die Pilotstudie untersucht korrelativ den Zusammenhang zwischen der Usability, einer Facette des User-Experience-Konstrukts, der intrinsischen Motivation und der Lernleistung. 31 Schülerinnen und Schüler zweier gymnasialer Biologie-Leistungskurse absolvierten dazu eine webbasierte Lerneinheit zu einem Thema aus der Zellbiologie. Die Usabilitybe-wertung korrelierte dabei moderat mit dem situativen Interesse (r = .38, 95% CI [.02, .65]) und der Lernleistung (r = .42, 95% CI [.07, .68]). Der Zusammenhang erwies sich auch nach Kontrolle lernerfolgsrelevanter Personenmerkmale als stabil. Die subjektive Usability erklärte 10% der beobachteten Varianz im situativen Interesse und 16% der Lernleistungs-varianz. Die Hauptstudie wurde als quasiexperimentelles Zweigruppendesign umgesetzt. 140 Studenten eines informatiknahen Studiengangs lernten dabei mit jeweils einer von zwei verschiedenen Websitevarianten. Die Studenten der Experimentalgruppe (bessere User Experience) zeigten eine geringere kognitive Belastung durch die Website (d = 0.73, 95% CI [0.36, 1.10]), berichteten eine höhere Intention zur Wiedernutzung (d = 0.55, 95% CI [0.19, 0.90]) und gaben der Website eine bessere Bewertung (r = .35, 95% CI [.20, .51]). Die Studenten berichteten außerdem eine höhere intrinsische Motivation zu Beginn (d = 0.44, 95% CI [0.10, 0.78]), aber nicht am Ende der Lernphase (d = 0.34, 95% CI [0.00, 0.68]). Die Lernleistung zwischen beiden Versuchsgruppen gemessen mittels Leistungstest unter-schied sich nicht (d = 0.04, 95% CI [-0.30, 0.38]). --- A good user experience is a decisive success factor in product and system development. User experience can be defined as a “person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service” (DIS ISO 9241-210, 2010, p. 3). Although the introduction of technology-enhanced learning and especially learning with computers in schools and universities has been very hesitant and less thorough than hoped for so far, little attention has been paid to user experience in educational technology re-search and practice. In this thesis, the connections between user experience, motivation, cognitive load, technology acceptance and learning performance in technology-assisted learning settings are first worked out from a theoretical perspective and then investigated in two empirical studies. The pilot study examines the relationship between subjective usability, a facet of the user experience construct, intrinsic motivation and learning perfor-mance. 31 students of two high school biology courses (German Gymnasium) completed a web-based learning unit on cell biology. Usability ratings were moderately correlated with the situational interest (r = .38, 95% CI [.02, .65]) and the result of a performance test (r = .42, 95% CI [.07, .68)]. The correlations also proved to be stable after controlling for learning relevant personality states and traits. Usability explained 10% of the observed variance in situational interest and 16% of the performance test variance. The main study was implemented as a quasi-experimental between-group design. 140 students of a com-puter science related study program learned with one of two different versions of a website. The experimental group (better user experience) showed a lower cognitive load from interacting with the website (d = 0.73, 95% CI [0.36, 1.10]), reported a higher intention to re-use it (d = 0.55, 95% CI [0.19, 0.90]) and gave the website a better overall rating (r = .35, 95% CI [.20, .51]). The students also reported higher intrinsic motivation at the beginning (d = 0.44, 95% CI [0.10, 0.78]), but not at the end of the learning phase (d = 0.34, 95% CI [0.00, 0.68]). The learning performance between the two conditions, measured by a per-formance test, did not differ (d = 0.04, 95% CI [-0.30, 0.38]).
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Failure in organizations is very common. Little is known about whether leaders should provide information about past organizational failure to followers and how this might affect their future performance. We conducted a field experiment in which we recruited temporary workers to carry out a phone campaign to attract new volunteers and randomly assigned them to either receive or not to receive information about a failed mail campaign pursuing the same goal. We find that informed workers performed better, regardless of whether they had previously worked on the failed mail campaign or not. Evidence from a second field experiment with students asked to support voluntarily a campaign for reducing food waste corroborates the finding. We explore the role of leadership tactics behind our findings in a third online survey experiment. We conclude that information about past failure is unlikely to have a negative impact on work performance, and might even lead to performance improvement. Implications for future research on the relevance of leadership tactics when giving such information are discussed.
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Purpose Pursuit of meaning is at the heart of much of organizational life. It has implications for how different organizational stakeholders associate value to various organizational initiatives. Research on meaning has generally shown that effort increases meaning and favorable valuation of and willingness to pay for economic activities by organizational stakeholders. The authors build on and advance this research by offering theory and experimental evidence showing that effort, particularly at high levels, results in enhanced meaning and favorable valuation when effort does not threaten the focal stakeholders' resources through expectation disconfirmation. Design/methodology/approach Three experimental studies are designed and conducted in this research. In one study, the authors replicate prior research findings that establish labor generally increases meaning and favorable valuation. In the two subsequent studies, the authors test the proposed hypothesis in this research and check for robustness of the empirical analysis. Findings The authors find that any internalized threat to the focal stakeholder's resources coupled with a high exertion of effort decreases, rather than increases, meaning and favorable valuation of and willingness to pay for economic activities. Originality/value The theory and empirical evidence in this research advance the understanding of how organizational stakeholders may associate effort-induced meaning with various economic activities in counter-intuitive ways. The findings also highlight the importance of recognizing and shaping the expectations of organizational stakeholders in influencing willingness to pay in organizational settings.
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This article briefly examines Guidance Counselling in the Irish context. An analysis of the current decision-making climate and context suggests that there is a need to develop responsible decision-making skills in students, as reflected in the new Junior Cycle Key Skills. A meaning-centred, whole-school approach to develop responsible decision-making is then proposed. The paper identifies the characteristics of self-control, self-insight, modelling, and goal setting as necessary attributes in responsible decision-making. Examined from a whole-school perspective, the significance of meaning, expectation, and perceived vision of failure is considered in terms of student and staff motivation. Building on the counselling framework of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy and in light of changes to the provision of school guidance, The Logotherapeutic Framework for responsible decision-making (TLF) is offered as a whole-school approach to achieve educational and guidance counselling objectives. The article discusses how the features of the TLF contribute to our mental and physical health. The philosophical and empirical bases for the approach, potential classroom strategies, along with future research recommendations are examined.
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The burgeoning literature on corporate governance, both in economics and in law, has focused heavily on the agency costs of delegated management. It is therefore striking to encounter a large number of well-established and highly successful companies that have long been under the complete control of a self-appointing board of directors whose compensation is divorced from the profitability of the company and who cannot be removed or replaced by anyone except themselves. The companies in question are those controlled by “industrial foundations,” which are nonprofit entities that possess a controlling interest in an otherwise conventional business corporation. Although common throughout Northern Europe, industrial foundations are particularly numerous in Denmark, where they control a quarter of the country’s 100 largest corporations. We work with a data set of 110 foundation-owned Danish firms to explore whether, and how, the governance structure of industrial foundations helps explain the strong performance of the firms they control. Given the absence of substantial material incentives, we concentrate on governance structures. We find a strong and robust relationship between the structure of foundation governance and firm performance. These results reinforce the view that, with the proper governance structure, pure fiduciaries can perform more efficiently than conventional economic models would predict. More specifically, these results underline the potential importance of the legislation that, in 2018, removed the long-standing barrier to forming industrial foundations in the USA.
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This paper documents evidence from five studies showing that WOM about experiential versus material purchases is superior in evoking reactions from WOM receivers that are valuable for firms (e.g., purchase intention). We find that this difference emerges from receivers’ perception that WOM about an experience (vs. material object) is more substantive (i.e., involving, meaningful). Further, we test two potential antecedents of substantive WOM: receivers’ and senders’ identification with the purchase. Mediation- and moderation-based evidence indicates that receiver-, but not sender-, identification drives substantiveness. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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Employee morale is a determinant of productivity and retention. This study explores relationships and morale levels between employees and supervisors in a large service industry. An open-ended questionnaire developed based on literature was created to assess morale and motivation, support, incentive, workplace environment, way of motivation, and job satisfaction. This survey was then piloted to managers of hourly product handlers working in a large North American distribution company. Data on existing status of employee morale and the factors influencing morale were collected from managers of three different departments responsible for supervising product handlers. The survey was administered using an online survey tool and answered by a sample of 44 respondents. Poor employee morale and negative attitudes toward their jobs were reported. Influencing factors included minimal pay and hours, lack of motivation, understaffed and unskilled labor, high physical workload, and poor supervision. Manager feedback indicated employees had a lack of understand of company mission and vision but also demonstrated a potential disconnect at the worker and manager levels. Potential interventions such as increasing employee-supervisor interaction, promoting good behavior, offering non-monetary benefits, training, wage rate and employee selection consistency, job redesign, etc. were recommended to management for implementation to improve existing conditions.
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This study utilizes the crowdfunding setting, and examines gender differences with regard to the perceived meaning of donations. The crowdfunding mechanism creates a singular reciprocal interaction where motivations can be examined and compared. We show that women's perceived meaning is more sensitive to the existence of gift rewards than that of men. When the gift incentive is nonexistent, women attribute a greater sense of meaning to their contribution, whereas this effect is largely absent or even reversed in men. Our findings have far-reaching implications in all aspects of donor retention strategies. Specifically, our findings indicate that women are more aligned with the Kantian doctrine of rejecting self-interest considerations of altruistic behavior than men.
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This paper considers how identity, a person's sense of self, affects economic outcomes. We incorporate the psychology and sociology of identity into an economic model of behavior. In the utility function we propose, identity is associated with different social categories and how people in these categories should behave. We then construct a simple game-theoretic model showing how identity can affect individual interactions. The paper adapts these models to gender discrimination in the workplace, the economics of poverty and social exclusion, and the household division of labor. In each case, the inclusion of identity substantively changes conclusions of previous economic analysis.
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We analyze the consequences of control on motivation in an experimental principalagent game, where the principal can control the agent by implementing a minimum performance requirement before the agent chooses a productive activity. Our results show that control entails hidden costs since most agents reduce their performance as a response to the principal?s controlling decision. Overall, the effect of control on the principal?s payoff is nonmonotonic. When asked for their emotional perception of control, most agents who react negatively say that they perceive the controlling decision as a signal of distrust and a limitation of their choice autonomy. (JEL D82, Z13)
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In this paper we analyze the behavioral consequences of control on motivation. Wenstudy a simple experimental principal-agent game, where the principal decides whethernhe controls the agent by implementing a minimum performance requirement before the agent chooses a productive activity. Our main finding is that a principal's decisionnto control has a negative impact on the agent's motivation. While there is substantial individual heterogeneity among agents, most agents reduce their performance as a response to the principals' controlling decision. The majority of the principals seem to anticipate the hidden costs of control and decide not to control. In several treatmentsnwe vary the enforceable level of control and show that control has a non-monotonic effect on the principal's payoff. In a variant of our main treatment principals can also set wages. In this gift-exchange game control partly crowds out agents' reciprocity. The economic importance and possible applications of our experimental results are further illustrated by a questionnaire study which reveals hidden costs of control in various real-life labor scenarios. We also explore possible reasons for the existence of hidden costs of control. Agents correctly believe that principals who control expect to get less than those who don't. When asked for their emotional perception of control, most agents who react negatively say that they perceive the controlling decision as a signal of distrust and a limitation of their choice autonomy.
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This article investigates the experience of white-collar workers in nonprofit firms. The theoretical model of the nonprofit labor market suggests that workers supply labor to nonprofit organizations at lower than market wages in return for the opportunity to provide goods with positive social externalities. Average nonprofit wage differentials of approximately -0.20 and -0.05 are estimated for managers and professionals and for clerical and sales workers, respectively, in two national worker data sets. Further research is needed for more conclusive evidence concerning the possibility that the estimated differential may reflect low-quality workers selecting work in the nonprofit sector. Copyright 1989 by University of Chicago Press.
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This article provides new estimates of the nonprofit/for-profit wage differential in the U.S. economy. Using observations on 4.1 million private-sector employees from the 1990 census, I find either zero or slightly positive economy-wide wage differences between nonprofit and for-profit employees in a standard earnings equation format. Significant wage differentials are found at the disaggregated occupation and industry level and provide a basis for testing hypotheses explaining nonprofit/for-profit wage differences. Copyright 2001 by University of Chicago Press.
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I argue that four sources of utility that have rarely been incorporated into economic analyses--self-signaling (self-esteem), goal completion, mastery, and meaning--constitute extremely important motives in human behavior. I illustrate the importance of these motives by drawing upon the mountaineering literature. After showing that mountaineering can not possibly be understood as a consumption experience--i.e., an experience that directly yields sensory or mental pleasure--I argue that it can be explained, at least in part, on the basis of these four motives. Moreover, the importance of these motives is not limited to mountaineering, but extends to many if not most economic and noneconomic activities. Copyright 1999 by WWZ and Helbing & Lichtenhahn Verlag AG
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Publisher Summary The chapter presents a discussion on the theory of equalizing differences. The theory of equalizing differences refers to observed wage differentials required to equalize the total monetary and nonmonetary advantages or disadvantages among work activities and among workers themselves. On the conceptual level, it can make legitimate claim to be the fundamental (long-run) market equilibrium construct in labor economics. Its empirical importance lies in contributing useful understanding to the determinants of the structure of wages in the economy and for making inferences about preferences and technology from observed wage data. Measurable job attributes on which compensating wage differentials have been shown to arise empirically include (1) onerous working conditions, such as risks to life and health, exposure to pollution, and so forth; (2) intercity and interregional wage differences associated with differences in climate, crime, pollution, and crowding; (3) special work-time scheduling and related requirements, including shift work, inflexible work schedules, and possible risks of layoff and subsequent unemployment; and (4) the composition of pay packages, including vacations, pensions, and other fringe benefits as substitutes for direct cash wage payments. Another important class of problems identifies work environments with investment rather than with consumption. Market equilibrium is defined by equality between demand and supply for workers on each type of job.
Do scientists pay to be scientists? NBER Working Paper No
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Stern, S., 1999. Do scientists pay to be scientists? NBER Working Paper No. 7410.
Economico-philosophical manuscripts of 1844 The Portable Karl Marx. Penguin Books
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Marx, K., 1983. Economico-philosophical manuscripts of 1844. In: Kamenka, E. (Ed.), The Portable Karl Marx. Penguin Books, New York (1844).
Do scientists pay to be scientists?
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